Richmond Public Schools is attempting to lower the dropout rate in their schools. Last month the district opened up a child care lab inside Armstrong High School. The center is an on-site daycare program that will serve students and their families. The lab will not only provide parenting skills classes for teens with children, but also provide students with the opportunity to become licensed child care workers.

“With this lab established, more students and parents will be impacted. What you see here is a fresh start for a lot of our students,” Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Yvonne Brandon said.

Onsite daycare programs aren’t new, but of course with everything in life, there are critics. A high school in Gloucester, Massachusetts came under fire a few years ago recently, not only because of the “pregnancy pact” made my several students, but because of the day care they added on site in 1996. Some blamed the school for aiding in making pregnancy something glamorous.

“Clearly people are saying that it’s possible that the presence of the day care center may encourage teenage pregnancy,” Chris Farmer, superintendent of the Gloucester school system, said. “Since people have raised the question, clearly it would be wise for us to address the question.”

Farmer said he does not believe the Gloucester High girls considered whether the school had day care when they chose to have their babies. He said that public schools have a responsibility to help young mothers complete their education, and that the center has successfully done that for years.

“We expect people to make mistakes, and educators hope that people learn from mistakes,” the superintendent said. “If we as a society think that mistakes made by young people should permanently harm their life chances, than I would worry about that.”

Do you think in school daycares enable teen pregnancy?

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